The anchor free website (www.anchorfree.com) is blocked from Belize. Thanks for the good ole cencorship BTL.
At the June 2007 CANTO confernce, BTL made it very clear that they are blocking VoIP. They have proudly become the model for other Caribbean telecommunications companies to emulate. The arrogrance is so breathtaking, they even invited their VoIP blocking vendor (Bitek) to present. If you are interested in learning more about the “economic protections” employed by BTL, head over the CANTO website – http://www.canto.org – the presentations from the conference are linked from the bottom of the home page. Here are some highlights:
This takes the cake… click on the picture to see BTL’s certificate of arrogance:
Since March of 2006, BTL has been selectively deciding what internet content Belizeans can access. This site has chronicled their blatant deceit and suppression of independent choice. The colonial lords and ladies, after being outcast from Britain to Belize, have decided to make our country their own personal experiment in economic shame. BTL is no exception. It is locked in the stranglehold of the “Ashcroft Curse”. Prices go up, Mikey gets richer, and Belize falls even further behind in many of the key social, educational and infrastructure measures as compared to the rest of the world.
Internet (IP) voice and video are now global standards in communication for many industries. Many people have simply circumvented BTL’s blocks, and some have gone so far as canceling BTL in favor of an alternate ISP. It has been some time since this site was updated. We believe it is time for a reminder on how exactly to circumvent BTL and get what the constitution affords you despite the criminal actions of Lord Ashcrook:
- If you simply want to dump BTL, your options are SMART/SpeedNet or satellite. The satellite options are still DirecWay, Starband and now iDirect. We may cover these options as they pertain to VoIP usage in further posts. The goal for this post is to update residents of Belize on bypassing BTL’s VoIP blocks on their high-speed DSL internet services.
- If you use Skype or any other PC-based telephony service, the answer is a software VPN (virtual private network). Most people have used HotspotVPN and Witopia SecureMyWiFi. For technical technical reasons beyond the scope of this post, it is always better to opt for a “UDP-based” VPN. AnchoFree is another variety of VPN that is FREE, but quality has varied greatly with AF expecially on 128kbps connections (BTL’s $100bz/mo ADSL service).
- If you use Vonage or Packet8 or any other SIP adapter-based product, there are two options. The first is to turn your PC, running the PC-based VPN software, into a “router/encrypt-er” for your Vonage box. Many of the country’s IT professional have been quietly implementing this service for their customers. Ask around and you will likely find a technician willing to help you set this up.
- The second option for Vonage users to purchase a dedicated VPN router, a hardware based solution. This alleviates the need for a PC to run the VPN and generally results in a much more stable and clear connection for the voice/video call. This option requires a service provider in the US or any country outside Belize to provide a VPN server to which your hardware can connect.
- The last option is to find a service provider either PC-based or adapater-based that uses the IAX protocol. IAX is a protocol developed along with the open source PBX named Asterisk and is currently NOT blocked in Belize. IAX is a less common IP voice protocol to its big brother SIP, but it works just the same. Future posts will include direct links to IAX service providers and IAX hardware.
The goal of this site is to protect the rights of the residents of Belize. We’re not interested in bowing to BTL’s intimidation. Some comments on this site in the past have suggested that these solutions should be kept quiet. We respect that opinion, but we must also respectfully disagree. BTL is acting criminally. BTL is a piece of a massive criminal scheme to make a few rich British Lords a bit richer. In their circles, Belizeans are a big JOKE. Why should we curb our mutual disrespect and disdain for their behaviour?
Technology – good, corruption – bad, being Ralph’s puppet boy and letting him run Belize’s telecommuncations policy into the ground – priceless.
From the LoveFM story today covering the launch of the government’s new web site:
Hon. Said Musa, Prime Minister of Belize
“The cost cutting nature of technology today provides opportunity and enables delivery of the much needed economic and social information more efficient while transcending distances to provide wider and broader access.”
Um, isn’t this what VoIP does?
And from the LoveFM story covering Belize’s rank of 66 of the world’s most corrupt countries:
Hon. Said Musa, Prime Minister of Belize
“You will find that there is corruption in every part of the world today. What we are doing is that we are making this more transparent so whether it is an officer taking a bribe to do a job or to do it quickly, we need to expose and adjust these things. You cannot have corruption in the public sector unless it is taking place in the private sector. So there is need for us to look at this thing a societal problem and recognize it and address it in that way.”
Then why have you not yet responded to the publicly exposed collusion between your utilities minister, the PUC and BTL? Isn’t it now time to “adjust”?
Here is the full October 10, 2006 press release from the UDP:
The attached letter has been leaked to the United Democratic Party, and provides yet more disturbing proof of the government’s dishonesty to, and betrayal of, the people of Belize.
The UDP remembers the great fanfare with which the PUC sponsored open hearings on VOIP, and the force of public sentiment in favor of VOIP’s free use by Belizeans. When, after the hearings, the PUC published its guidelines on VOIP, the consensus was that those regulations did not go nearly far enough because they did not grant Belizeans unrestricted use of this cheap and easily available technology.
Now we learn that Government was always determined that even the minor concessions granted by the PUC would never be realized by the people of this country. It was always a shell game, with the Minister of Public Utilities guaranteeing BTL that not withstanding the PUC’s published guidelines, the public would continue to be shafted and BTL’s blocking of VOIP would continue to be maintained.
The perfidy of the Minister calls for the greatest possible condemnation and censure. His actions are immoral in the extreme. They also constitute another example of his continuing readiness to place himself above the law. After all, the PUC is the only legal regulatory telecommunications authority in this country. The frustration by the Minister of the PUC guidelines is as unconstitutional as his infamous SI recently struck down by the Supreme Court.
The UDP demands that the Prime Minister immediately make a statement, saying whether he knew of the Minister’s action. If he didn’t, then he must fire the Minister. And if he did, they must both resign.
Click HERE to read the letter. It is a JPG picture scanned from paper (on BTL letterhead), you may have to click it again to MAGNIFY once it is loaded into your browser.
The PUC has issued a total of 25 Telecommunications Class Licenses since 2003, and 5 since the PUC took on the VoIP issue. It is unclear whether any of these new licensees plans to compete on VoIP services. If you own or represent any of these organizations, please email BFIC (bficmail [at] gmail [dot] com) and give us an idea when we can drop BTL or at least legally use a Belize-owned VoIP service.
Here is the full list from the PUC website:
See the full list by clicking this link:
US House Of Reps – Working On A Bill To Protect US Businesses From “Repression By Authoritarian Foreign Governments”September 8, 2006
Hmmm, very interesting for VoIP blocking nations, especially those who HEAVILY rely on US exports, aid and tourism business.
Bill: H.R.4780 : To promote freedom of expression on the Internet, to protect United States businesses from coercion to participate in repression by authoritarian foreign governments, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4] (introduced 2/16/2006) Cosponsors (14)
Committees: House International Relations; House Energy and Commerce
Latest Major Action: 6/22/2006 House committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Forwarded by Subcommittee to Full Committee (Amended) by Voice Vote .
As part of the bill, Congress would make various findings, including:
• “Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are fundamental human rights, and free use of the Internet is protected in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights, which guarantees freedom ‘to receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers'”;
• “The Internet has been a success because it quickly provides information to its more than 972 million users globally”;
• “The growth of the Internet and other information technologies can be a force for democratic change if the information is not subject to political censorship”; and
• “Political censorship of the Internet degrades the quality of that service and ultimately threatens the integrity and viability of the industry itself, both in the United States and abroad.”
The bill provides the following statement of policy for the United States to:
• “Promote the ability of all to access and contribute information, ideas and knowledge via the Internet, and to advance the right to receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers as a fundamental component of United States foreign policy”;
• “Use all instruments of United States influence, including diplomacy, trade policy and export control, to support, promote and strengthen principles, practices and values that promote the free flow of information”; and
• “Prohibit any United States business from cooperating with officials of Internet-restricting countries in effecting political censorship of online content.”